With less than a fortnight to the 2019 general elections, palpable fear has continued to grip residents of Effurun, in Uvwie Local Government Area of Delta State as sporadic gunshots have continued unabated for hours.
The gunshots were heard around Jakpa Road, Warri Sapele Road, Sokoh Estate Road and the PTI Road -where three persons were reportedly said to have lost their lives as a result of clash between supporters of rival parties on Sunday.
Business activities were abruptly brought to an end as shop in Effurun and environs were forced to close for the day before midday to avoid hoodlums catching in on the situation to loot the shops; roads were almost deserted as only a very few vehicles were seen on the roads at about 4pm.
Three persons were allegedly feared dead while about 20 others sustained varying degrees of injuries.
Witnesses said the bloody violence erupted between political thugs loyal to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and those loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Apprehensive residents expressed fears that the latest Uvwie bloody clash on Sunday may trigger unrest and unsettled the area, which was notorious for perennial youth crisis.
Our correspondent gathered that trouble started around Dumure area of Effurun on Wednesday when sporadic gunshots were fired by unknown persons in the area.
The situation had become tensed on Friday when violence broke out between the warring sides, culminating in Sunday’s bloody clash leaving not less than three persons dead and over 20 persons in critical conditions.
According to a resident of Alaka street of Effurun, one of the troubled areas, violent clashes had intermittently erupted around Jakpa Junction, Alaka area, Dumure, Orhumarho, Effurun Market and parts of PTI Road close to the Effurun Market.
“Trouble started on Friday from Dumure when some shots were fired on Wednesday, but there was no injury, it was like some persons were firing warning shots.
“The following day, being Thursday, was relatively peaceful as there was no confrontation, but the bloodiest happened on Friday when several shots were fired and some guys started going to attack the homes of their opponents.
“We were around Ovie Palace Junction and Solidas when we started hearing rapid gunshots coming from Jakpa Junction axis. That was about 10pm on Friday.
“All of a sudden we saw one guy who had been matched all over his body, obviously looking for help. It was a taxi driver who agreed to take him to the Warri Central Hospital and according to him, 10 other injured victims had been admitted before he got the man there.
“From that day’s bloody event alone, we have heard of about three deaths and many seriously injured; nothing less than 20 people have been admitted in various hospitals”, he said.
Another witness said the fight was between thugs loyal to PDP and APC, but noted that other miscreants took advantage of the melee to engage in dastardly acts, thereby aggravating the situation and creating panic among residents and passersby.
“I saw policemen parking people at Jakpa Junction around 12:30pm today (Sunday), but that is not enough, that’s not where those who have caused mayhem are.
“Police know that the thugs and other hardened criminals are lurking in the adjoining streets around, waiting for them to just leave the main road for them to come out to continue their reign of terror”, the source said.
Delta Police Command spokesman, Mr Andrew Aniamaka (DSP), confirmed the development and said there had been unrest indeed, but could not confirm the casualty figures.
“Yes I can confirm to you that there was unrest in that area and that the command has managed to bring the situation under control.
“The DPO Ebrumede, S.O.S Commander and other key operatives of the command had been on ground. Even the Area Commander is involved in the operation that has restored order in the area”, he said.